Ginger

Zingiber officinale

Ginger grows to approximately 1 metre (3.2ft) from a coarse, irregular, tuberous rhizome. The reed like stems are smooth with alternate light green leaves. The flowers are yellow speckled with purplish dots and a purple lip. The fruit breaks open irregularly from an oblong capsule.

Family: Zingiberaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Ginger is a key herb in Sustain, Sleep and Kids.

Habit and cultivation: Native to tropical Asia and also widely cultivated in Fiji and Queensland. Ginger is grown by dividing the rhizomes with fresh shoots sprouting off the original. It requires semi-shade, in a moist, rich soil. Drought and frost tender. The rhizome is harvested after the plant dies back and is used fresh or dried.

Actions (known for): Carminative, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-emetic, anti-platelet, demulcent, diaphoretic, expectorant and metabolic stimulant.

History

The root of its name is Sanskrit and means “horn body”. Ginger has been used as a spice and a medicine since ancient times. The Ancient Romans traded ginger with India in the 1st century. Marco Polo reintroduced ginger to Europe in the 15th century and the price for half a kilo was the same as for 1 sheep. The medicinal uses of ginger remain mostly unchanged.

Parts used:

The rhizome is harvested after the plant dies back and is used fresh or dried.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Volatile oil 1-3% including zingiberene and camphene. Phenols including zingerones, gingerols and shagaols. Oleoresin 4-5%.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: A, B-complex and C. Minerals: calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and magnesium.

Indications:

Arthritis, peripheral circulation, intestinal colic, dysmenorrhoea, flatulence, endometriosis, fever and nausea.

Dosage:

Liquid Extract: (1:2) 5-20ml per week. Dry Herb: 0.75-3g per day.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Colic, flatulent dyspepsia. Approved by Commission E for dyspepsia and motion sickness.

Cautions for therapeutic doses

Avoid high doses in pregnancy.

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